UNITED STATES—I was compelled to write about this topic because in the past 2 weeks it has happened to me more than once and I think it’s important the rest of America is aware as well. We all like to believe that we are not being overcharged when we shop at local retailers. I would argue that is true for 90 percent of the time, especially when it comes to purchasing clothing or simple household items. Most Americans are pretty good at spotting inconsistencies with their receipt or if they’re being overcharged.

However, I know for a fact many people DO NOT check their receipt at the grocery store, and here is a major reminder: YOU SHOULD ALWAYS DO IT! Why? The last three times I went to the grocery store I was overcharged on items or charged duplicate times for an item that I only purchased once. Now normally I would NOT put companies on blast, but this time I don’t care. They should be made aware of this issue because if consumers only KNEW how much money grocery stores make on overcharging clients they would be flabbergasted.

Meijer, Sam’s Club you guys are at the top of my list! I mean, if an item is on sale, you expect when you get to the register that item is going to be the price you expect it to be. I hate getting to the register and finding out something was priced incorrectly. Well, if it was priced incorrectly, than I don’t need it. Yes, I have NO PROBLEM telling the cashier to remove that item from my order if it’s not the price I expected it to be. Hey America, you should not be afraid to do the same thing. You’re spending your hard earned money and you should not be forced to spend more than you plan to.

So here are some tips to help prevent having to go to customer service and wait in a long line to get a refund for something you should have never been charged for. Or worse, you get home you unload your items, check your receipt and find out items are missing or you were overcharged much more than you expected.

1) Watch the monitor or screen while your items are being rung up. This is VITAL when you’re talking about produce, because you can be easily overcharged for a fruit or vegetable by a cashier who entered the wrong code. 2) Next, if you find discrepancy while things are being rung up, let the cashier know immediately. Mistakes are made I understand, but nip the problem in the bud before it causes you to be stressed because you have to spent time you didn’t plan to spend fixing an issue the retailer should have already fixed. A lot of the time mispricing issues is a direct result of things NOT BEING PROPERLY entered into the system.

You might be asking how I know this. I used to work at a grocery store and our scan administrator took FOREVER to enter prices into the system and just the smallest distraction is all it takes to turn a minor problem into something bigger. 3) Finally, if the cashier is adamant the price is accurate, don’t argue with them. Head to customer service to dispute the problem, or if it has become a trend that you are tired of dealing with, simply sever ties with the supermarket. If they don’t appreciate you as a customer, do not feel compelled to continue to give them your money. Trust me; they will respect you once they realize that loyal customer isn’t so loyal anymore.

I’ve been on this major train about the importance of receipts in the past few weeks, but I’m learning it teaches you a lot about spending habit, the places you shop and more importantly your personality. Remember knowledge is power people, knowledge is power!